Levi (from Lissa) - BremerMisjpoge

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Levi (from Lissa)

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According to the author Max Markreich, Levi came originally from Lissa and went through Amsterdam to Bremen. He was given a permanent position as a teacher at the "Altes Gymnasium", a salary of 30 dollars and citizenship, (only) after he had baptized. What could substantiate that, is that his friend and pupil, the Swiss theologian Ulrich (who traveled 1727 - 1729 through Holland and North-Germany and graduated in 1728 with Levi) received to his departure a rabbinical certificate in Hebrew signed with Christian Gottlieb Fromman, Rabbi Neeman (= sincerely rabbi).

Levi later left with a "Protection Letter" of the Bremen Senate, to Lissa to arrange the estate of his deceased mother. He seems to have never returned. Markreich speaks of the 'fresh converted" who returns to Lissa, as if that was not many years after his baptism. In short: probably Levi went around 1730 again thither, and left his family behind.

If Levi already around 1730 - 1731 returned to Lissa, why  would  Moses Levie have gone to Amsterdam? Can there have been. another family connection?  The archives of the Groninger kille refer to the simultaneous stay there of a Rabbi Levi and Rabbi Joseph Lissa from Lissa. Brothers, or coincidence? Lissa at that time counted a few thousand Jewish souls, of whom really not many simultaneously arrived in Groningen, certainly not both rabbi; a profession with often an almost dynastic tradition. And if Joseph was a brother, did he also travel to Amsterdam? Then that may have been a reason for Moses Levie to go to Amsterdam.

In the books of the Jewish Community of Groningen are - from that period- donations registered by a 'stranger', one Rabbi Levi Lissa (link 2 in the Netherlands; origin unknown). Groningen/Winschoten was a famous (sometimes lengthy) stop on the route from Bremen to Amsterdam for 'foreigners' from Jewish communities elsewhere. See also footnote 161 on one Rabbi Levi (the same?) the year 1742.

Interesting fact is that there were, indeed, few Jews in the Bremen region (see also the information about the Duchy of Bremen). While this list probably is not complete, there was only a small group of potential fathers (named 'Levi') of our Moses. And, although not residing there for generations, Moses connection with Bremen must have been more than just 'passing through' (because otherwise he could just as well be Van Groningen or Van Winschoten) so the idea that the parents of the only 20-year-old Moses lived there, is a fairly logical. Which makes Levi Lissa a promising candidate for 'father of Moses' because 1) Levite, as our family apparently is, seen the family tombstones, 2) rabbi, fitting within the story that the learned Moses might descend from a rabbinical family 3) Levi came via Amsterdam from Lissa , which makes Amsterdam not an illogical place to go.

In Jewish history in England is also information about a Rabbi who came from Lissa and has been in Amsterdam (http://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Susser/roth/chone.htm ).

In the Hazan or Reader or the community in 1695/6 (the earliest of its officials All whose name is on record) did not come from Germany, but from Poland. This was the scholarly Rabbi Judah Leib am Moses of Lissa, formerly of Wesel. He died, apparently, in some years later (the accounts for 1706 - 8 register a payment of £ 5 to the apothecary for the late R. Judah, the Hazan) .4 He left a young son, Jacob, at that time only nine years old. The boy, who took the name of Jacob London, Became quite a noteworthy figure in Hebrew letters. He lived for some time in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Frankfurt, returned to Lissa, and later Travelled through Italy.

R. Jacob ben Judah Amsterdam or perhaps to be identified with Mr.. Jacob Levy, or at applied to a person All whose father was called Loeb or Leib, ie R. Judah Leib am Moses of Lublin or Lissa.

In Markreichs texts no English connection of Levi is to be found.

Until 1648 this area was an independent Principality within the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" under the government of the archbishop of Bremen.  Until 1648 we also speak of "Archdiocese of Bremen" or "Stift Bremen". From 1648 to 1712 the "Duchy of Bremen" was part of the Kingdom of Sweden, from 1712 to 1715 part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Since 1715 the "Duchy of Bremen" is part of the Principality of Hannover (later the Kingdom of Hannover). In 1731 the small country, so-called Hadeln, which previously belonged to the Principality of Saxe-Lauenstein, was also connected to the Principality of Hannover.

The number of Jewish inhabitants within the "Duchy of Bremen" was very low until the middle of the 18th century. In 1731 and 1735 for the first time detailed overviews of in the "Duchy" living Jewish inhabitants were created by the Hannoverian provincial government in Stade.
In the essay "Jews in the old district of Stade" (vol. 67/1977, pp. 31 -.. 64), the former Stade State Archives Director Jürgen Bohmbach evaluates sources from this period and mentions the Jews that -with an official permit- stayed in different villages of the Duchy.

From this source I have retrieved all the names of Jews for the period before 1745, and their residences written out (if two places are called, then the person has initially lived in the first, later in the second place):

Levi Hertz (Ritterhude/Scharmbeck) 1735
Arend Magnus (Meyenburg/Lehe) 1735
Meier Levi (Ritterhude/Stotel) 1735
Gottschalk Hahn (Schwanewede/Uthlede) 1735
Levi Nathan (Horneburg/1740 Neuhaus an der Oste) 1735
Jacob Salomin (Schwanewede) 1735
Salomon Heidemann (Ritterhude) 1735
Israel Isaac (Ritterhude) 1737
Abraham Isaak (Eggestedt) 1739
Hirsch Wolff (Land Hadeln/Otterndorf) 1731
Alexander Jonas (Land Hadeln/Otterndorf) 1731
Simon David (Land Hadeln/Otterndorf) 1731
Levin Nissa (Land Hadeln/Otterndorf) 1731
Israel Hecht (Otterndorf) 1740
Isaac Lefmann with his son Meyer Isaac Lefmann and another son (Stade) 1743.


Rabbi Levi Sander went early 18th century with his parents from Poland (Lissa) to Amsterdam and later went to Bremen, to teach  Talmud classes  at the Gymnasium Illustre. To be allowed to work there, he had to become a Christian and then adopted the name Wilhelm Godfried. He has taught at the Gymnasium till 1725 and then (with his family?) returned to Amsterdam. The reason might have been that his mother had deceased (widow of Sander, born Wilda (Poland)). Wilhelm Godfried has not returned to Bremen.
What interests us is that now a track arose towards Amsterdam. Namely that Wilhelm Godfried (formerly answering to the name Rabbi Levi Sander from Lissa) came from Amsterdam to Bremen and went back in 1725. Konrad Elmshäuser, on our request, sent the following documents of the Senate of Bremen, addressed to the city council of Amsterdam. This document was intended to assist in settling the inheritance of Wilhelm, be it Levi. This information comes from the archive in Bremen (StAB 2 - T.5.a.1.g.3.d. (228)) and could possibly also be found to be in Amsterdam.

  • Our question therefore; is this document to be found in Amsterdam and, for us even more importantly, is known if Wilhelm and his family returned to Amsterdam, and if so, did he bring a son named Moses (Levie)?

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